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Waterproof Kindle Oasis lets you read in pool or tub

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2017-10-12 Edward C. Baig

Kindle Oasis is waterproof © Amazon Kindle Oasis is waterproof You can’t seem to put down that page turner, even at the risk of getting your book all soggy. That’s precisely why you’re the kind of avid bookworm Amazon sees buying the new Kindle Oasis e-reader, the first such Kindle that is waterproof.

The idea is you'll be able to confidently read at the beach, in a swimming pool, even the bathtub (but not underwater). Oasis is rated as being able to withstand immersion in up to two meters of fresh water for up to an hour.

Now the sobering news: you must pay handsomely for the convenience. An 8-gigabyte Oasis costs $249.99, a 32GB version $279.99, and a 32GB model with free cellular connectivity (used to download content), $349.99.

That’s quite a pricetag compared to the $79.99 you’ll pay for an entry level Kindle reader, the $119.99 that the best-selling Paperwhite model fetches, or $199.99 for another premium model called the Voyage.

Amazon starts taking preorders for Oasis Wednesday; the reader ships at month's end

The latest Oasis has a 7-inch screen (300 ppi) with built-in ambient light sensors and an aluminum back. It replaces the pricey Oasis introduced a year ago April, which had a 6-inch display. That's the same screen size as all the other Kindles that remain in the lineup. The larger 7-inch display translates into about 30% more words on the screen, Amazon says.

I can vouch for the crisp text on the new Oasis but couldn’t really verify Amazon’s claims of faster page turns in the short time I had with the device. The new model is certainly light, and Amazon says that the ergonomics are designed in such a way as to shift the center of gravity to your palm so that device rests in your hand like the spine of a book, whether you’re reading with your right hand or left.

It’s been a decade now since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the very first Kindle e-reader, and the folks at the company insist that the business is still going strong (though Amazon doesn’t reveal sales.)

You can read Kindle eBooks nowadays on Amazon’s Fire tablets, as well as rival smartphones and tablets. But many people still prefer digesting books on dedicated Kindle readers compared to those other devices, because of the bang-up job Kindles do of replicating the experience of reading on paper. And Kindles have long boasted a major advantage over tablets and phones—battery life is measured in weeks and months, not hours and days.

Audible on Kindle

Apart from being waterproof, the latest Oasis has another appealing (for some) new feature: it’s the first to incorporate Audible, the Amazon-owned company that is the largest seller of audiobooks. On the Kindle, you’ll be able to choose from a content library of 375,000 audiobooks or other audio programs, and listen by connecting headphones, speakers or using wireless Bluetooth speakers.

If you buy an Audible title and also own its Kindle counterpart—you have to buy them separately, though you get a reduced price if purchasing both—you can keep your place in both, whether you’re reading the book or listening to it. And you’ll also be able to purchase either eBook or Audible content right from the Oasis.

Amazon says that via an over-the-air update coming in a few months, owners of the 8th generation Kindle, or last year’s Oasis model, will also be able to access Audible from the readers.

But if you hope to read while wet, you’ll have to fork over some money for the new Oasis.

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